Technics 1200 Mod: Standalone DVS Player

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We love featuring DIY DJ technology projects on the blog, and today’s features is a whopper. An intrepid YouTube user has rewired a set of Technics SL-1200 turntables and added a built-embedded system to play a library of tracks using control vinyl, without an external DVS system like Serato or Traktor. Keep reading to learn more.

Technics Standalone DVS Project

So what even are we looking at here? It’s a standalone, self-contained piece of DJ gear, much like a CDJ – except it’s a Technics turntable. Here’s the basic overview of the project:

  • This is a DIY project – one of a kind engineered by one person
  • It’s a Technics SL-1200 turntable that can play normal records
  • There’s a second mode that allows it to play songs off a built-in computer’s SD card
  • It has DVS timecode functionality – scratching, spinbacks, pitch shifting all work well
  • The controls used are three buttons: Start/Stop, 33, 45.
  • No external connections are required – the audio coming out from the Technics
  • You can set cue points and loops

Want to see it in action? There’s two demo videos on YouTube, but they’re not exactly cohesive or clear, and are mostly in Russian, so I quickly cut one of them up and added some notes in English so you can follow exactly what’s happening:

In the original video description, Andrew Anatsky* writes:

“Handmade Digital Vinyl System (DVS), built-in [to a] vinyl turntable Technics SL-1200. [It is like] an analog Serato or Traktor Scratch, but is completely autonomous. The computer and the sound card is not necessary. To work [you only need] 2 turntables and mixer. Content is stored on a micro SD cards in the players. It is possible to install two hot cues for each track with automatic saving on the SD card, installing realtime loops.”

menu-browsing-technics-dvs-projcet

With this mod, there are a few different modes and menus:

  • Normal: If you turn on the turntable normally, it behaves as you would expect a Technics SL-1200MK3 to
  • DVS Mode: Hold down the 45 and 33 buttons while turning on the turntable, and it jumps into DVS mode. In this mode there are three different layers of functionality for the 45/33 buttons, which you can access by holding down on the Start Stop button:
    • Song Browsing: Jump forward and backward one track with a single tap, fast forward or rewind by holding, or hold one and tap the other to jump around in your SD card’s folders.
    • Cue Point: You can save and trigger two cue points with this mod.
    • Loops: This behaves just like an old-school CDJ – which means it’s Loop In and Loop Out. It doesn’t seem like there is any quantization happening here, so make sure your timing is tight!

More Details + Project Documentation

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at Apr 20.11.27 AM

At the base of this standalone DVS project is this XILINK FPGA board ($45 on eBay) – an embedded system that is designed for audio playback and manipulation. The project is based around using this board as the central brain, but as you can see in the video above, it handles the playback manipulation that you would get from aggressive DJ use just fine.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at Apr 20.48.21 AM

If you want to take on the task of creating your own version of this standalone digital turntable, there is full documentation here and a complete wiring diagram here – but again, it’s all in Russian and pretty challenging to translate.

Check out another similar mod project for turntable heads: modifying a Technics SL-DZ-1200 digital player for way more precise control

All photos / video credit to Andrew Anatsky (*for some reason we can’t use Cyrillic letters here, so that’s his “translated” name)- we’ve been trying to reach them but haven’t had a response. Please email us at editor@djtechtools.com 🙂 

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  • Marcelo Campos

    Hi dear friend, i wanna to build a version of this project, can you share the firmwares and schematics ? thank you !!

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  • Aaron Jaraba

    My summer goal here in Australia ??-see if I can get this to work in my PT01 Scratch!

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  • Daniel James

    The PiDeck does the same but is so much easier to build, no mods to the turntable required. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epR50swm96o for a demo and https://github.com/pideck/pideck-distro/releases to download the software image for the Raspberry Pi.

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  • Kevin Schrader

    The people from Technics must be crying right now, because they didn’t implement this in the Technics remake 😀

  • Christopher Allen

    save time and money and just get denon sc3900. slightly smaller platter but it’s direct drive and standalone and has a (crappy) display. no needles to worry about. it seems like the best of both worlds if going this route.

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  • Ryan Supak

    Beautiful work. Congratulations.

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  • David Cendrero

    increible!!!!!!!!

  • Inkredible Diz

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  • Roman Beránek

    Oh, what a pleasure to hear I’m not the only one who got that idea when introduced to the FPGA technology! The only thing left is to put a Raspberry Pi next to it in a way you could simply connect your phone to the turntables and use it as a library interface for instance.
    Any audio & IoT geek here? 🙂

    • Dubby Labby

      Too many devices for the same operation imo.

  • Dirtylooks

    This is so awesome. Would love to have a kit to install with instructions in english! Would sell like hotcakes!

  • The guy should polish it a bit and get it on Kickstarter! This is DOPE!

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  • Tao Jones

    i would get a pair of these just to be a badass.

  • killmedj

    Whoa!!

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  • Ben McCarthy

    wow what a smart dude

  • technicaltitch

    I can’t see where the Serato dvs functionality is coming from, doesn’t look like it’s on the xilink board, I think you’d need a Linux cpu, midi mappings and some foss DVS software, (or Serato on a pc/mac for decent quality), so I think it is a hoax, but an absolutely genius one. I’d really LOVE one of these – djing mp3s with vinyl without a computer is better than having several cakes and eating them at once for me.

    • Aaron Jaraba

      No one said it was SERATO that was the DVS….You can do DVS without having to use Traktor Scratch/Serato – and that’s what the guy has done – using the timecode signal to control playback of an audio file. The dvs translation is the generic program underneath.

      • technicaltitch

        The vinyl is Serato. I mention FOSS and Linux (the latter to use a Pi or something, or an Android DVS). But I don’t think any DVS would run on the XILINK – check the specs.

    • Dubby Labby

      Check the schematics, seems legit.
      It is a good project with schmidt trigger extracting “tics” from sinus waveforms on vinyl. Not sure if it could read the absolute position with this system.
      It makes interesting the hardware decoding ala numark cdx but without physical encoder plus open source audio playback from sd (like sldz or denon could perform)

      So no linux need (is fpcga board aka DSP hard code) also not midi mappings (but it could be possible to implement midi out) and more than DVS software a playhead player… It will be cool to heavy scratching test (I still not see vids but the documentation even in Russian points REAL). So for mixing maybe could be ok but for scratching it will be a bit complex in “whistling” tracking which is more than simply filter and edge trigger tracking.

      In my opinion it arrives a bit later and maybe point the possiblity to Pioneer having something similar in their labs (maybe an external unit with integrated soundcard to upgrade their turntables) making it compatible with any turntable. In other hand the flexibility of solutions like Djplayer (even with possible drawbacks like latency) and the less relevance in djing for turntable makes me think about this as “exciting but anecdotic”. It’s faster to fit a ipad dock+midi control (dicer like, crossfader…) inside a turntable and even make it portable.

      Some resources in this direction in english were posted at:
      http://www.digitalvertigo.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=38093

      • Dubby Labby
        • technicaltitch

          That is absolutely fascinating (I didn’t suss the schmidt trigger) – pure DSP DVS! Thank you very much indeed for enlightening me! Yes I was thinking Android, and that a commercial model would have to be pretty bomb-proof and sound good.

          • Dubby Labby

            You are welcome but let me point that the fact this is “pure dsp” hasn’t be necessary better. The average speed with the proper setup could run under 2’5ms of latency in desktop platform and that for mixing and regular scratching is more than needed. Only uberchamps and diehard fans will need go under and even them could toast a vinyl with their material and go.
            If it was really an issue DVS systems never grown up as they done. Then users have the flexibility of stablished platforms like win/osx/ios and recently some androids which make them better suited for scalibility of the whole system (features vs development) cheaper, faster and easy.
            That’s the reason why Pioneer setup cost twice than Traktor setup, if you take the price of computer which is a “comodity” (being near a electrodomestic gear more than a specific tool). Also why the improvements come faster from these platform based than propietary platforms who will take less risks due to development cost with no new revenue (software could charge you and upgrade, hardware will be saw it as a bug from users).

            The only path to avoid this is kickstarter it but it has its own drawbacks too (see the qneo history if you are interested)

            Jm2c 😉

          • technicaltitch

            Thanks I couldn’t agree more. To be honest, part of the reason I like this idea of DVS in a 1210 is because I would expect a hardware solution to be rock solid reliable, and it would remove all the complexity and unreliability and distractions of laptop, wires, OS and Traktor – just plug in phonos and SD card and focus on the sound. I guess to get there we need another leap of innovation in embedded DVS technology, to a level of quality and reliability near Pioneer CDJs, which I think is unlikely to ever be profitable. But who knows…..vinyl is making a resurgence…

          • Dubby Labby

            Yes it is a common demand but then you have the problem of library management. Do you want a screen? Touchscreen? Codecs? Midi?
            If you keep it simple, it should be stable; the most you need the expensive it turns.
            Vinyl is making a resurgence but pure vinyl. DVS kept the turntable relevant but the gap between pure vinyl and digitalism (sync, touch surfaces and so) makes me think this kind of solution will be no-man-land and every time later to the party or expensive if they are released by a major. What’s the point?
            Like the new Toraiz sampler, only a matter of taste and money because at least you need expensive hardware which have embed computer (fpga aren’t analogic gear) to more or less the same but difficult to maintain and develop.
            They have a niche market? Sure but then they come in 5000€ (like the new technics) and people complaint about pricey units.

            Well little niche market ideas need expensive revenue for unit.
            Big niche market ideas need cheaper revenue for unit even when these are expensive tablets because these are still cheaper than laptops cheaper than pioneer dedicated hardware and so on.
            Hardware is ever expensive to develop than software and revenue thin in comparision. It makes risky for brands to add too much features due to possible bug tracking etc.

            Over years I loved to see things like this happen but time teach me that the problem is in the user which usually doesn’t understand the cost and efforts but demands things difficult to accomplish from the brand pov and obviously didn’t make by their own (users).

          • Dubby Labby

            Then take a look into the related articles about sldz mod. 😉

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  • Be

    Cool idea, I’m curious about more technical details of how it works if anyone can translate from Russian.

    However, I can’t imagine searching through tracks/folders one by one with button presses and no visual indication of where you are in the file structure would be very practical. You’d have to have the whole set planned out or have the order of all the files memorized to really use it. Even if you had the order of the files memorized, if you have a lot of files, scrolling through one by one (or through folders) would not be fun. I’m doubtful anything is going to beat a full-size keyboard and mouse in terms of navigating large music libraries.

    • adamboc

      i had a 2gb ipod shuffle a few years back and knew all the tunes on it by heart. they were in alphabetical order too.. so with a relatively small library it could work easily!

      • ?

        but wasn’t it always on shuffle?

    • Dubby Labby

      It seems folder system based so earlier preparation seems the path…

  • deejae snafu

    pretty awesome

  • Johbremat

    Just add a Numark Dashboard.

    • Dubby Labby

      It is a matter of time that someone like numark or pioneer release something like but meanwhile you could do more or less the same with ipad, the correct combination of gear and djplayer.

  • DJSETUP

    very nice project, I think it has commercial future

  • Rudy.cz

    Integrate a Dicer and you have a winner here

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    • Misha Savage

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